What Now - The Difference Four Years Can Make

By Malcolm Shore



Stricken with despair.

These are a few words to describe the way tens of millions of Americans felt on November 3, 2004.

Beneath all of those words was a basic question: How? How?! Throughout the United States and the world, that question kept echoing as an angry, desperate, demoralized scream. How, after Bush stole the 2000 election in broad daylight" after it had long been blatantly obvious there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq" after the Patriot Act " after Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 became the highest-grossing documentary of all time"and only months after the release of the Abu Ghraib torture photos, which shocked the conscience of people throughout the globe"

How, after all this, had George W. Bush actually won another 4 years in the White House?

In actuality, part of the answer to that question-which continues to receive far, far less attention than it should-is that Bush did not win the 2004 election. In a June 2006 article in Rolling Stone, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. makes an extremely thorough and convincing case that the Bush Regime engineered massive voter fraud in 2004, of a nature and on a scale that is staggering. After reading Kennedy's article, there is reason to conclude not only that Bush did not win the election, but that we really cannot say with any confidence how many people actually did vote for Bush.

Kennedy's article is a must-read for anyone who has not read it, and a must re-read for anyone who has. The piece is critical to keep in mind on the eve of Election Day 2008. Here it is:


Still, the fact remains that the majority of progressives in this country have not recovered from the 2004 election. Massive numbers of Americans who had put their hopes into John Kerry, and worked to the point of exhaustion to get him elected, felt betrayed, heartbroken, and cynical. This initial depression became deadly and paralyzing when, instead of viewing the 2004 election as cause to become disillusioned with politics as usual and motivated to build independent mass resistance, a large percentage of the population did the exact opposite: they became increasingly pessimistic about the people and their ability to make change, and instead retreated into the dead-end idea that the only way to change things is to vote for "lesser of two evils" Democrats.

And so, for the next few years, as atrocities committed by the Bush Regime piled up at an astonishing rate- Falluja, Katrina, the end of habeas corpus, legalized torture, Alito, Roberts, spying, immigrant raids, to name just a few- the vast majority of Americans went to sleep. In the 2006 midterm elections, and during the 2008 presidential cycle, the Democrats offered to adjust their pillows. But the slumber continued.

And now we find ourselves on the eve of the 2008 election. This election truly is historic, because it marks the first time a Black man has a chance to run the U.S. empire. And it is highly anticipated, because of the difficulty in predicting whether that possibility will become a reality, and what the prevailing societal reaction will be either way.

If, as polls suggest, Barack Obama wins, the same millions of Americans who have spent the last four years in a state of apathy, demoralization, and disillusionment are likely to feel joyous and relieved, almost overnight. These initial emotions will likely remain strong for at least several weeks. However, these progressives will, before long, find themselves confronted with the reality that Obama is not who they thought he was; not who they tried to make him; and, above all, not who they wanted him to be.

If, on the other hand, John McCain wins, given how far behind in the polls he sits currently, it will presumably be apparent to large sections of Americans that McCain's victory is due to either: 1) White supremacy that the polls did not account for. 2) A stolen election. 3) Both of the above. In any case, if McCain "wins," huge sections of the populace may well be infuriated, disgusted, disillusioned, demoralized, or some combination of the above.

Whether Barack Obama or John McCain wins, in other words, the question that will be screaming out at the people of this country, in figurative boldface capital letters, is: "WHAT NOW?"

We do not know what will happen on Tuesday November 4, or in the weeks to follow. But we do know that, no matter what happens, there will be one major and critical difference between the coming period of time and November of 2004: The World Can't Wait did not exist then. It does now.

In the fog of shock and despair that engulfed the nation the day after George W. Bush's "re-election," there was not a political vehicle like World Can't Wait on the scene to shine a light through that fog; a vehicle to which people could turn if they wanted to independently resist the crimes of our government, and which could serve as a constructive outlet for the frustration, anger, anxiety, so many people felt. So bleak was the situation in 2004, in fact, that within a day or two after the election, many people were already talking in terms of electing a Democrat in 2008!

This time around, it's way different.

No, the World Can't Wait is not nearly as big a force as it needs to be, right now, either in terms of numbers or political impact. No, it has not accomplished its goal of driving out the Bush Regime. And no, it is neither desirable nor possible for The World Can't Wait to reverse the fascist trajectory of our society on its own. But if ever there were a political moment that powerfully demonstrated what World Can't Wait has accomplished in the past, or the continuing relevance and necessity of the organization going forward, this is it.

It is because of the work WCW has been doing the past few years to resist illegal wars, torture, and the entire package of crimes our government has committed that a foundation now exists to resist the crimes of the next administration.

If Barack Obama is indeed elected, and then-in spite of his repeated promises of "change"-he continues the criminal agenda of the Bush Regime in some form, what will millions of Obama supporters do? Will they suddenly talk themselves into supporting these criminal policies, now that Obama is implementing them instead of Bush? Or, conversely, will they retreat into "if all politicians are evil, I guess there's nothing we can do" cynicism? Or will they convert their anger and betrayal into determined resistance?

If, contrary to all poll indications, John McCain wins, will people accept what is almost certainly either another stolen election or a loud declaration of white supremacy? Will people cover their eyes, ears, and mouths as the fascist direction of our country escalates further? Will they sink into the depths of an even deeper demoralization, and even more pronounced pessimism in humanity, than we witnessed after the 2004 election?

Or will they see more clearly than ever the need to politically fight back, outside the confines of "politics as usual"?

These are questions that World Can't Wait has a huge responsibility-but also a huge opportunity-to answer. Given the name of our organization, some people might have assumed that our work would be done once George W. Bush is no longer president. On the contrary, in a sense, it is only just beginning.

To (slightly) paraphrase Bruce Springsteen: "Where there's a fight against the blood and hatred in the air, look for us, ma. We"ll be there."